What you might want to learn about utilizing Google Flights for award flight searches

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With its interactive maps, historic value charts and quite a few filters that will help you discover the proper flight, there’s a lot to like about Google Flights.

Whereas there are many on-line journey companies and flight comparability web sites, there are none like Google Flights. When you cannot use Google Flights to indicate the costs utilizing factors and miles, many options could make it worthwhile to make use of when redeeming your hard-earned factors and miles.

Exploring routing choices

One of many hardest elements of reserving a long-haul flight on factors and miles is determining all of your routing choices, significantly these with the least journey time. It is not laborious to determine which airways run nonstop flights between two cities. For instance, British Airways, United Airways and Virgin Atlantic function nonstop flights between San Francisco Worldwide Airport (SFO) and London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR).

However what in the event you’re flying to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) as a substitute? With no nonstop choices, Google Flights may help you rapidly discover one-stop routings.

On this instance, the location discovered greater than 80 one-stop choices:


You would possibly uncover new routing choices that will help you search for award area. For instance, on this search, Google Flights exhibits that Air Canada operates a flight instantly from Vancouver Worldwide Airport (YVR) to Bangkok. Assuming there’s award area, that might be a perfect method to journey to Thailand utilizing Air Canada’s Aeroplan candy spots.

Associated: Did your bank card factors simply get extra worthwhile? Air Canada and Emirates broaden partnership

Filtering by alliance

When you’ve got factors and miles with an airline member of Star Alliance, Oneworld or SkyTeam, you may typically use your loyalty account to e book award journey on associate airways.

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With so many associate airways, it may be tough to trace all of them. However don’t fret: Google Flights has you coated.

Say I need to redeem my United miles to fly to Bangkok on Star Alliance. Sticking with Star Alliance, I will obtain my Star Alliance Gold advantages, comparable to business-class lounge entry on any member service. Click on “Airways” on the prime and choose your required alliance:


Your outcomes are then filtered to solely show carriers in that alliance, permitting you to hone in on the precise flights you need. On this case, Google Flights supplied me with the 4 finest Star Alliance matches from SFO to BKK (contemplating details and comfort). A special Star Alliance service operates every flight. I may change the order of the flights to indicate the bottom value, earliest departure/arrival instances, and most minimal journey instances and emissions.


For extra tips about leveraging these packages, take a look at the next guides:

Associated: After 10 years, nonstop service between North America and Thailand will resume

Evaluating costs

Whereas every of us has completely different standards when deciding whether or not to make use of miles, Google Flights may help evaluate money and award costs.

For instance, within the search above from San Francisco to Bangkok, which has a Singapore Airways flight for $571, I’d in all probability choose to save lots of my miles for one more use when money costs are increased. To e book this flight, I might think about using fixed-value rewards. In spite of everything, with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, I may e book this flight for 38,000 Chase Final Rewards factors and sure earn Premier qualifying factors to assist me qualify for United Premier standing subsequent yr.

Even in the event you’re not wanting to make use of your factors and miles, beginning your search with Google Flights nonetheless is smart. Typically when reserving a round-trip flight, it’s cheaper to e book two separate one-way tickets, even on two completely different airways. Whereas not each on-line journey company supplies this feature, Google Flights exhibits you the bottom value and identifies that you simply’re reserving separate tickets.


Associated: Maximize your airfare: The perfect bank cards for reserving flights

Exhibiting alternate airports

You may need to be properly knowledgeable about your choices when trying to find award area. That features figuring out about all of the close by airports.

While you initially search, you may choose a metropolis as a substitute of a particular airport, so the outcomes will embody all relevant airports within the metropolitan space:


Many vacationers are prepared to make plans relying on award area, so the distinction between flying into, say, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Worldwide Airport (FLL) as a substitute of Miami Worldwide Airport (MIA) is insignificant. The identical holds true for different cities with a number of airports, comparable to Heathrow and London Gatwick Airport (LGW). Google Flights will present flight itineraries to close by airports.

Associated: No main airport close to you? Right here’s how skilled vacationers nonetheless get superb flight offers

Inspiring your subsequent journey

You’ll be able to depart the vacation spot field empty in the event you want inspiration on your subsequent award journey. Google Flights will show a map with costs out of your origin metropolis to varied home and worldwide locations. You’ll be able to drag the map to see different elements of the world and apply filters to seek out flights that be just right for you. Searching for a nonstop flight that leaves after work within the subsequent six months? You’ll be able to alter your filters accordingly to supply an extremely personalized search.

This map may present all of the nonstop flights accessible from your private home airport. Here is a search with the most cost effective nonstop flights from Denver Worldwide Airport (DEN) that embody at the least one carry-on bag.


After all, this doesn’t imply these flights can be found as awards, however Google Flights generally is a nice jumping-off level to see the place you may journey from a given airport or metropolis in case your ultimate vacation spot is versatile.

Associated: 9 superior options you may not learn about Google Flights

Extra filters

These search options come along with Google Flights’ glorious extra filters, which allow you to customise your search just about nonetheless you need. You’ll be able to filter by the variety of stops, airways, luggage, costs, instances, emissions and far more.


I additionally love the calendar view, which rapidly exhibits you a two-month snapshot of costs based mostly on the search standards you’ve already chosen. On this calendar, you may see the costs for the varied filters I added: a nonstop flight from SFO to Newark Liberty Worldwide Airport (EWR) on United that features one carry-on bag (i.e., not fundamental economic system).


Associated: United Airways orders as much as 200 Boeing 787s, setting stage for widebody fleet renewal

2 vital notes

Whereas Google Flights is a improbable method to rapidly see flight choices, there are two essential issues to remember.

Google Flights shouldn’t be an OTA

Whereas Google Flights is aware of extra about flight costs than another web site on the web, it’s not an internet journey company via which you should purchase airfare. As an alternative, when you’ve discovered the flight you need, Google Flights will evaluate costs for you and aid you discover the most cost effective possibility — whether or not with an precise OTA or via a direct airline reserving.

On this instance, in the event you began your search with Expedia, you is likely to be paying nearly $50 greater than crucial.


In some ways, it is ultimate that Google Flights isn’t an OTA. Typically, it’s cheaper to e book instantly with the airline.

By reserving instantly with the airline, you are assured to earn your bank card bonus factors in the event you’re paying with a card like The Platinum Card® from American Specific or the American Specific® Gold Card (since these bonuses are solely awarded on flights booked instantly with the airline). It’ll additionally make sure that your flight received’t code as a particular fare or bulk fare that might be ineligible for mileage accrual and should not rely towards elite standing qualification.

Google Flights doesn’t show award area

Along with not permitting you to pay for flights, the location has nothing to do with award availability. Simply since you discover a flight or an itinerary on Google Flights doesn’t assure that it’s accessible utilizing factors or miles. It depends upon whether or not the working service (or carriers) have opened award seats on the flight(s). For that step within the reserving course of, you’ll want to look on a particular airline’s web site or use a service like ExpertFlyer (owned by TPG’s father or mother firm, Crimson Ventures).

For some tips about the most effective methods to seek out award availability, take a look at the next posts:

Associated: What are factors and miles price? TPG’s December 2022 month-to-month valuations

Backside line

Google Flights has grown to be a much-appreciated software for a lot of vacationers. Merely put, I have never seen one other web site that gives the diploma of intuitive customization that Google Flights supplies.

Whether or not you’re searching for routing choices, low-cost paid flights or accessible backup itineraries within the occasion of delays, Google Flights’ huge knowledge units and intuitive consumer interface make it a go-to software for many of your flight wants.

Extra reporting by Ethan Steinberg.

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